Maternal Morbidity with Repeated Cesarean Deliveries

Rebecca Klahr, Kevin Cheung, Emily S. Markovic, Mackenzie Naert, Andrei Rebarber, Nathan S. Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective  This study aimed to estimate the association between adverse maternal outcomes and the number of repeated cesarean deliveries (CDs) in a single obstetrical practice. Study Design  Retrospective cohort study of all CDs between 2005 and 2020 in a single maternal fetal medicine practice. We used electronic records to get baseline characteristics and pregnancy/surgical outcomes based on the number of prior CDs. We performed two subgroup analyses for women with and without placenta previa. Chi-square for trend and one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) were used. Results  A total of 3,582 women underwent CD and met inclusion criteria. Of these women, 1,852 (51.7%) underwent their first cesarean, 950 (26.5%) their second, 382 (10.7%) their third, 191 (5.3%) their fourth, 117 (3.3%) their fifth, and 84 (2.3%) their sixth or higher CDs. The incidence of adverse outcomes (placenta accreta, uterine window, uterine rupture, hysterectomy, blood transfusion, cystotomy, bowel injury, need for a ventilator postpartum, intensive care unit admission, wound complications, thrombosis, reoperation, and maternal death) increased with additional CDs. However, the absolute rates remained low. In women without a placenta previa, the likelihood of adverse outcome did not differ across groups. In women with a placenta previa, adverse outcomes increased with increasing CDs. However, the incidence of placenta previa did not increase with increasing CDs (<5% in each group). The incidence of a uterine dehiscence increased significantly with additional CDs: first, 0.2%; second, 2.0%; third, 6.6%; fourth, 10.3%; fifth, 5.8%; and sixth or higher, 10.4% (p < 0.001). Conclusion  Maternal morbidity increases with CDs, but the absolute risks remain low. For women without placenta previa, increasing CDs is not associated with maternal morbidity. For women with placenta previa, risks are highest, but the incidence of placenta previa does not increase with successive CDs. The likelihood of uterine dehiscence increases significantly with increasing CDs which should be considered when deciding about timing of delivery in this population. Key Points Maternal morbidity increase with each CD. Absolute adverse outcomes remains low in highest order CDs. In women without placenta previa, there is no added morbidity with additional CDs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1431-1436
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Perinatology
Issue number13
StatePublished - 15 Nov 2020


  • grand multiparity
  • maternal morbidity
  • multiparity
  • repeat cesarean
  • uterine window


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